Frenchman Charles Caudrelier was announced as skipper of Dongfeng Race Team at the Official Christening in Sanya. The Volvo Ocean 65 was officially christened ‘Dongfeng’ (meaning East Wind) in the presence of famous Chinese sporting stars Zhang Ning and Guo Chuan alongside Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad, Mr Li Quan-Hai, of the China Yachting Association and Director of Watersports National Centre of the China and Gary Huang, General Manager of Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Company, Title Sponsor of Dongfeng Race Team.
“The choice of Skipper for Dongfeng Race Team was a particularly challenging one because we weren’t only looking for the qualities and leadership of a Volvo Ocean Race skipper, but we were also looking for someone who would embrace the task of developing the Chinese sailors that will form part of the team,” explained Team Director Bruno Dubois. “We’re delighted with our choice and look forward to a long and exciting collaboration with Charles.”
Charles Caudrelier is no stranger to the race as a key figure of the winning team Groupama in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. He has experienced first hand the extremity of the race and understands what it will mean to guide a team through the next edition: “Dongfeng Race Team is a natural choice for me. I want to help develop sailing as a sport around the world and China is a major player, not just economically, but in the sporting arena as well. I take a great pleasure in teaching my sport and if the Chinese sailors are willing to learn I am more than willing to teach. There is so much for them to learn, this race is about collaboration, teamwork and adventure. The sport of sailing is a universal language and I want to make people see that,” said Caudrelier.
As a professional offshore sailor Charles is widely recognised for his victories in the Solitaire du Figaro and the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre, not to mention his role onboard Groupama with friend and skipper, Franck Cammas. Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race CEO, recognises Charles is ready for the challenge: “He is a guy at the top of his game in terms of skills and ability, and very importantly he has the ideal personality to take on the extra challenge of integrating the Chinese sailors into the rest of the crew. He is focused on winning but is a man who is always willing to share his considerable knowledge and help progress plans step by step towards a full Chinese crew in future editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.”